University Innovation Alliance
Jul 23, 2018
Gralon Johnson
University Innovation Alliance

Dr. Gralon A. Johnson serves as the University Innovation Alliance (UIA) Fellow at Iowa State University, where he works collaboratively with senior leadership to design and implement comprehensive student success initiatives to support persistence and completion outcomes for underrepresented student populations (i.e., first generation and low-income students and students of color). In this role, Dr. Johnson also liaises between Iowa State and the additional 10 UIA-member institutions to develop, scale, and share innovative solutions that propel our most vulnerable students toward success and earn their college degree from a leading research university. Prior to joining Iowa State, he served as Special Assistant to the President for Strategic Initiatives at Alcorn State University. Dr. Johnson’s experience in higher education administration also includes multicultural student affairs, summer bridge/First-Year Experience (FYE) programs and academic support programs.


Dr. Johnson’s scholarly focus involves the role of the family and home environment on the college decision-making processes of students of color. His award-winning doctoral dissertation examined the family-related factors that contribute to attitudes toward higher education among first-year, African American undergraduate men. Additionally, Dr. Johnson has co-authored book chapters and peer-reviewed journal articles that have explored the relationship among race, rearing and socialization for students of color. He has presented his scholarship during invited addresses and at national conferences such as the National Conference on Race & Ethnicity in American Higher Education (NCORE), the Student Affairs Administrators in Higher Education (NASPA), the National Council on Family Relations (NCFR) and the Association for the Study of Higher Education (ASHE).  


A native of St. Louis, Missouri, Dr. Johnson received a Ph.D. in Human Ecology (with a concentration in Applied Family Science) from Kansas State University, a Master of Public Service (MPS) degree from the University of Arkansas’ William J. Clinton School of Public Service and a Bachelor of Science degree in human development and family studies from the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff.